A modular yeast biosensor for low-cost point-of-care pathogen detection

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Science Advances  28 Jun 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 6, e1603221
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1603221


The availability of simple, specific, and inexpensive on-site detection methods is of key importance for deployment of pathogen surveillance networks. We developed a nontechnical and highly specific colorimetric assay for detection of pathogen-derived peptides based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae—a genetically tractable model organism and household product. Integrating G protein–coupled receptors with a visible, reagent-free lycopene readout, we demonstrate differential detection of major human, plant, and food fungal pathogens with nanomolar sensitivity. We further optimized a one-step rapid dipstick prototype that can be used in complex samples, including blood, urine, and soil. This modular biosensor can be economically produced at large scale, is not reliant on cold-chain storage, can be detected without additional equipment, and is thus a compelling platform scalable to global surveillance of pathogens.

  • Yeast
  • biosensor
  • fungal pathogens
  • invasive fungal infections
  • synthetic biology
  • point-of-care
  • low-cost diagnostic
  • G-Protein coupled receptor
  • lycopene
  • peptide biomarker

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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